The U.S. Chamber of Commerce on Monday fired its first shot in the looming battle over plans to bolster the economy, sending President Obama and Congress an open letter with proposals designed to encourage job growth.
The Chamber says the federal government could create millions of jobs over the next 10 years without adding to the deficit if the president and Congress approve several measures, including patent reform legislation, pending trade agreements, infrastructure investment proposals, oil drilling expansion plans and short-term corporate tax breaks.
On Thursday, Obama will reveal his jobs plan, which likely will have some similarities to the Chamber’s offering, especially on infrastructure investment. Congress also is expected to tackle at least some of the Chamber’s proposals this fall.
The Senate is scheduled to hold a cloture vote on the motion to proceed to a House patent reform bill on Tuesday. And lobbyists said in interviews with The National Law Journal in August that Congress likely will act on free trade agreements with South Korea, Panama and Colombia this year.
Chamber President Thomas Donohue wrote in the letter that acting on his organization’s proposals would “significantly ease uncertainty, get existing capital off the sidelines, spur business and consumer activity, and create American jobs.”
“Time and time again, Americans have heard Congress and the administration declare that creating jobs must be the nation’s highest priority,” Donohue wrote. “If you are serious, then we ask you to enact policies aimed at growing the private sector, not at growing the government.”
Donohue wrote that the Chamber is encouraging business associations and companies across the country to tell Congress and the president about the benefits of the organization’s proposals.
The Chamber spent almost $20 million during the first half of 2011 lobbying on issues related to its jobs plan and other matters concerning businesses.